Aircraft automation is examined and its effects on flight crews. Generic guidelines are proposed for the design and use of automation in transport aircraft, in the hope of stimulating increased and more effective dialogue among designers of automated cockpits, purchasers of automated aircraft, and the pilots who must fly those aircraft in line operations. The goal is to explore the means whereby automation may be a maximally effective tool or resource for pilots without compromising human authority and with an increase in system safety. After definition of the domain of the aircraft pilot and brief discussion of the history of aircraft automation, a concept of human centered automation is presented and discussed. Automated devices are categorized as a control automation, information automation, and management automation. The environment and context of aircraft automation are then considered, followed by thoughts on the likely future of automation of that category.